Turkey Blasted Over Journalist Detention Amid Crumbling EU-Turkish Relations

© Turkish Presidential Press OfficeTurkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan delivers a speech during a ceremony on the occasion of 171st anniversary of foundation of the Turkish National Police at the Presidential Complex in Ankara, on April 7, 2016.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan delivers a speech during a ceremony on the occasion of 171st anniversary of foundation of the Turkish National Police at the Presidential Complex in Ankara, on April 7, 2016. - Sputnik International
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The Austrian Chancellor Christian Kern has that Brussels-Ankara talks are now "obsolete" following the April 16 referendum and Italy demanding the Turkish authorities release Italian journalist Gabriele Del Grande, who is currently in police detention in Hatay on the Syrian border as EU-Turkey relations decline further.

The Austrian Chancellor says any chance of progressing EU-Turkey talks on Turkish accession into the EU are "buried" in growing opposition to Erdogan's clampdown on the media and opposition parties — exacerbated by the referendum April 16, which have given him sweeping new powers.

​"[Turkey's] membership prospects are buried, in practical terms. We are entering a new era," Kern told reporters in Vienna, adding that membership talks were now "obsolete."

The Italian foreign minister Angelino Alfano has called on his Turkish counterpart Mevlut Cavusoglu to demand the release of Del Grande, who is currently in police detention in Hatay on the Syrian border.

Meanwhile, relations between Berlin and Ankara have declined since the arrest, February 27, of Deniz Yucel, a German-Turkish journalist working for Die Welt newspaper. He was arrested and detained on charges of supporting a terrorist organization and inciting public violence.

Turkish flag. (File) - Sputnik International
Rome Demands Release of Italian Reporter Detained by Turkish Authorities
He is one of six German citizens detained in the crackdown on followers of exiled Turkish cleric Fethullah Gulen, now living in the US, who Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan blames for being behind the failed coup, July 2016.

EU-Turkey Migrant Deal Collapse?

Turkish membership of the EU was part of the EU-Turkey migrant deal intended to stem the flow of migrants crossing from Turkey into Europe.

The deal is supposed to allow for the return of migrants refused asylum — or not claiming it — in Greece to Turkey.

However, it is crumbling because of growing criticism of Erdogan's purge of journalists and the opposition, human rights issues and the referendum outcome.

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